Edward Whelan, [Quebec Conference] (13 October 1864)

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Date: 1864-10-13
By: Edward Whelan, The Examiner (Charlottetown), Quebec Conference
Citation: Edward Whelan, “The Inter-Colonial Conference in Canada,”The Examiner (24 October 1864).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF) HERE.
Note: Any endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais, The Quebec Resolutions: Including Several Never-Published Preliminary Drafts by George Brown and John A. Macdonald, and a Collection of all Previously-Published Primary Documents Relating to the Conference (CCF, 2021).


No. 2

THURSDAY, OCT. 13, 1864.

On the assembling of the Conference, a resolution was submitted by one of the New Brunswick Delegates, declaring that all the proceedings of the Convention, and the new Constitution to be framed for the local as well as for the general Government, were done with the view of perpetuating the connection with Great Britain. I do not pretend to give my readers the words of any resolution submitted. Indeed, I could not, for I have no access to the Minutes. The information I communicate to the Examiner is only such as might be gathered by any person in Quebec of an inquiring mind, but it is nevertheless quite correct. The resolution above noticed was strongly objected to, on the ground that no one in the Conference ever contemplated, separation from the Mother Country—that the connection was pre-eminently desirable; but that in framing a Constitution for the Federation, the action of the Conference ought not to be trammelled by too close an adherence to the forms of the British Constitution. The debate lasted for a long time—was characterized by much warmth, and ended in the adoption of a resolution, somewhat the same in spirit as the one first proposed—being a declaration, to the effect, that the Constitution of the General Government should be formed on the model of the British Constitution, as far as is compatible with our Colonial condition, and so framed, likewise, as to maintain British connection.

The remainder of the day was devoted to the discussion of a resolution which proposed to define the number of representatives which each Province should send to the Upper House of the Federal Parliament. The numbers are yet blank, and the discussion has been postponed until tomorrow. It has been agreed that Canada shall be regarded as two Provinces—Upper and Lower—and the number of representatives which she claims is greater than that which all the Lower Provinces would have. Well, her population is more than double that of the whole of them put together; and the claim does not appear to be unreasonable. But the incomplete state in which this part of the questions rests for the present, prevents me from saying anything more about it.

I have just returned (11 o’clock, p.m.) from dining at Spencer Wood, the residence of the Governor General. It is hardly necessary to say that the dinner was a superb one—lacking nothing in the departments of cuisine and vintage; but rendered especially charming by the case, affability and good humour which characterized the intercourse of the numerous guests; which included many of the Delegates, several of the Canadian Ministry; and last, but not least, several of the fair daughters of different parts of Canada, one or two of whom I should like to particularize, but dare not.—The Governor General is very easy and accessible in his manners—is not past middle life—is good-looking, well built, middle height, neither too stout nor too thin, wears large bushy whiskers of the same cut and colour as those which adorn the physiognomy of our friend Major McGill; and his Lordship might, indeed, be regarded as an improved likeness of our friend the Major. He has a keen relish for humour, and converses in a free and easy matter-of-fact style, same as any sensible man would; so that if his companion in conversation is not a born fool, he need not be oppressed by any of that stupid awe which fools sometimes feel in the presence of a live Lord. So much for the present. I hope I know more of Lord Monck before I leave Canada, and I have no doubt my appreciation of his character will be strengthened and intensified.

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